NetObjects' Fusion series has long garnered praise for hitting the sweet spot between complex output and intuitive use. Professional designers may prefer DreamWeaver or GoLive, but for all-round designers and serious amateurs, Fusion 10.0 represents serious value for money.

Fusion's major breakthrough was version 7.0, with subsequent refreshes adding only minor improvements. This time the ability to use advanced CSS (cascading stylesheets) has been improved and simplified. The previous iteration, Fusion 9.0, added Flash control. At the time we were unimpressed with this much-hyped addition, finding it rather limited, but it fares better in version 10.0. With hundreds of editable Flash effects, objects and images, there's no excuse for creating a dowdy site.

Fusion's killer selling point remains ease of use. Here too improvements have been made. Dockable and groupable pallets make the workspace genuinely customisable. This will appeal to designers who work across several disciplines. In this respect, it apes Adobe’s Creative Suite.

And while it might lack the power – and expense – of that suite's GoLive program, Fusion is ludicrously easy to use. It's a genuine wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) editor, which makes page design simple – especially if you have any DTP (desktop publishing) experience. And Fusion has a useful Site Wizard. We often find it easier to create a page than to sling together a coherent site tree. Fusion's wizard takes the pain out of this aspect of site building. Placing images is a drag-and-drop manoeuvre, while editing text on the page is straightforward. Layout in general is intuitive. With a sensible toolbar and a tabbed, instant preview window, this program is a cinch to use.

NetObjects Fusion 10.0: Specs

  • 660MHz Pentium III or equivalent
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • 256MB RAM
  • 250MB hard disk space
  • SVGA
  • 1,024x768
  • 16bit display
  • CD drive
  • IE 6.0 or later
  • 660MHz Pentium III or equivalent
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • 256MB RAM
  • 250MB hard disk space
  • SVGA
  • 1,024x768
  • 16bit display
  • CD drive
  • IE 6.0 or later

OUR VERDICT

We've never come across a more user-friendly web-design tool. Only the (albeit reasonable) cost prohibits casual use. If you need a website-design program for professional use, but you're not a professional web designer, look no further.

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